UPDATE: IHG Rewards Club Changes (Clarifications)

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On Monday, IHG Rewards Club made an announcement of changes coming to the loyalty program beginning from July 2015 (read more here) and hinted about something new from the beginning of 2016.

IHG Rewards Club Update Spring 2015

Part of the announcement (small print at the end) was the fact that there will be some award category adjustments on May 1, 2015 (read more here).

You can access IHG Rewards Club web page for these changes here and here.

The email that IHG Rewards Club sent out (I have included the version that I received below) and the web page left some unanswered questions that I requested clarification from IHG:

– InterContinental Royal Ambassador members will receive this new (yet unnamed) status come July 1st that requires 75 qualifying nights

– Royal Ambassador members will receive 100% bonus for InterContinental stays based on this new IHG Rewards Club status (apparently the Ambassador bonus is going away)

– Royal Ambassador qualification requirements of 60 nights of which 20 nights at minimum of 3 InterContinental hotels are not changing

– Ambassador members continue to receive Gold IHG Rewards Club status and can get Platinum status after 40 qualifying nights

– Rollover nights over 40 or 75 will count towards the status in the following calendar year (not going away)

– Any IHG Rewards Club activity that adds or deducts points from the account is qualifying activity and extends the expiry of points by an additional 12 months.

– IHG Rewards Club hasn’t traditionally released a list of hotels moving up and down in number of points required (this for my question if they are going to release a list this time)

– Some members have their status shown as Platinum Ambassador on the mobile app without paying for Ambassador program. This is a glitch on the app and being fixed.

IHG Rewards Club Update Spring 2015 Email

Conclusion

So, I should become member of this new level as of July 1st based on the Royal Ambassador status that I have (typing this away from InterContinental).

Doubt that there would be many if any Royal Ambassador members that wouldn’t qualify for it considering the 75,000 base points or 75 nights (awards and rollovers count as well) requirements.

We will update the IHG Rewards Club Master Property list early next week (you can find the 2014 one here) and will compile a list of properties that have moved up and down in the number of points required on May 1st.

It is interesting to see if IHG Rewards Club goal is to eventually combine the current three separate programs (IHG Rewards Club, Kimpton’s & Ambassador) to one. Probably difficult to justify running three separate ones, although Ambassador members collect IHG Rewards Club points and merely receive extra benefits for stays at InterContinental hotels.

I truly hope that this new tier level has defined set of benefits that are not based on the availability or up to the hotel such as breakfast/club access and early/late check out/in.

Would love to see space available suite upgrades that many program such as Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards (in Asia-Pacific they are benefit) benefit for this new status level.

Remember that you can bump your status up by one status level by signing up for the Ambassador program and separately for the Dining Program in the Asia Pacific. Any Gold member could theoretically become member at the new status level by signing up for both.

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